In this interview, Adewale Saka, Head, Information Technology, Wema Bank Plc, speaks on trending issues relating to information technology in the banking industry. Excerpts
By Babajide Komolafe
IN spite of its many advantages, technology has also affected the banking industry in many negative ways. What can you say about this?
Banking industry has been experiencing new types of risks associated with the use of technology for banking services. These risks could be due to human error, systems failure, fraud and cybercrimes. Banks in Nigeria have lost a lot of money to various fraudulent practices perpetrated through electronic channels. Fraud attempts, successful frauds, hacks and scams have steadily increased as banking takes center-stage in the digital world.
Count and volume of computer-related frauds has been on the upward trend. This has not only created image issues for banks and the industry, but has also impacted the bottom-line of the effected banks. Banks are now made to invest massively in technology infrastructure, implement and maintain technology standards and frameworks and compliance generally. Cost of maintaining and sustaining most of these standards and frameworks have become a burden to many banks.
How much of a bank’s technology infrastructure should be built and run in-house, considering security concerns that come with outsourcing?
Honestly speaking, I do not share a view that outsourcing or cloud computing or sharing a public infrastructure is less secured than on-premise deployment of infrastructure. All that is required for organisations is to go through a stringent process in selecting a cloud service provider and ensure a water-tight agreement is put in place to protect their businesses.
The benefits of outsourcing or cloud service are so enormous that a forward-looking organization cannot ignore. Organisations should rather look for mitigants for the risks that are associated with the cloud rather than avoiding the cloud. Some of the benefits of cloud computing includes; Agility, Cost efficiency, Scalability, etc. In summary, it offers responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of IT services.
In summary, except for data, infrastructure or solutions that have been mandatorily confined to banks, datacenters by way of regulation or government policies, every service or infrastructure can be outsourced or run from a public cloud. This will improve uptime and reduce cost significantly. It helps in managing cash flow by converting capital expenditure (CAPEX) to operating (OPEX) for organisations.
What big leaps has technology enabled Wema Bank to take?
Wema is the bank to beat when it comes to innovation using technology. As it stands today, Wema has made a bold statement with ALAT being the first truly digital Bank in the country. What is also unique about this is the fact that our digital bank and all other digital channels provided for customers’ comfort are fully owned by Wema (developed, maintained, supported and owned end-to-end by Wema).
Our WemaMobile platform can be switched to SMS banking if you run out of data right from within the app. This is an amazing experience that is unique to Wema. Card Control integration to all our service points (ALAT, USSD Banking, WemaMobile, WemaOnline, etc) and giving customers of the bank absolute control over when, where and how their debit and credit cards are used without recourse to the bank is the first of its kind in the Nigerian Banking industry.
We have also consistently provided very stable and reliable banking services through our digital channels. These have not only started changing customers’ and non-customers’ perception of the bank, they have also increased the number of customers and volume of transactions across all our channels.